Thursday, October 26, 2006
An amazing coincidence perhaps or was it planned by an astute editor I wonder -- the October 24, 2006 front page of the Wall Street Journal contained two articles, published in columns one and three entitled:
"To Stop Dust Bowl, Mongolia Builds 'Great Wall' of Trees"
"In San Francisco, Red-light Denizens Fight to Stay Seedy"
These two stories shared one common thread -- the planting of trees!!
The first story was focused on one local manager's, Batchuluun Doorov, role in a $150 million project dedicated to planting trees in a line across the Gobi Desert to help reduce dust storms. The second story focused on an architect/community activist in the Tenderloin District of San Francisco, Carolyn Abst, who wanted to clean up San Fran's worst neighborhood. Ms. Abst launched a project to plant trees in the neighborhood only to be the target of a clear "hate crime" by the area's prostitutes, transvestites , and a gay activist groups known as "Gay Shame" who wanted Ms. Abst to leave the area as she discovered it -- run down, dangerous, and opposed to gentrification.
After reading these two articles a few questions/thoughts came to mind:
1.) Given his concern about global warming is Al Gore raising funds to help pay for this tree planting project in the Gobi Desert?
2.) How can the "pre-Carolyn Abst arrival" residents of the Tenderloin District in San Fran be so narrow-minded about her beautification/tree planting project when these same people call for tolerance and acceptance of their lifestyles by society?
Perhaps the most telling quote in this San Francisco article is from Chris Daly, a Democrat who represents the Tenderloin District on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors who stated:
"Yes, people are addicted to drugs, and yes there is homelessness. Why shouldn't these people have a place of their own?"
Chris Daly is noted as a proponent of affordable housing and funding for nonprofit social services the article states -- and this is EXACTLY THE PROBLEM. People like Daly love the power/warm feeling that comes from using our tax dollars to "help" people like the down and out residents of the Tenderloin District when what they really need is the community activism by people like Ms. Abst which helps generate economic growth not government welfare. Thank you for your leadership Ms. Abst.
Two interesting projects involving the very simple act of planting trees but clearly two very different world views regarding these projects' overall value to humanity.
Cut one, plant two,